A Good Manners Guide For Recruiters Texting Candidates

Would you talk to your boss the same way you talk to your best friend? Probably not. However, with so much time spent on texting in general, it’s easy to make a misstep. Using a funny gif or character emoji to explain your feelings on a sporting event with friends is perfectly acceptable whereas a similar expression to a business colleague is not. 

A recent Pew research study cited that 97% of Smartphone users text regularly. Such being the case, it is highly likely that the texting habits you develop in your personal life may bleed over into your professional text communications. To prevent that from happening, please consider the following strategies. 

BRAND YOUR CONTACTS DIFFERENTLY:

When adding a work contact into your phone, use a company logo for their picture. This will remind you that it is a work acquaintance. 

Have different ringtones for different purposes. For example, the default ringtone could be for contacts you are unfamiliar with. “Working 9 to 5” could be a ringtone for people you work with, “We are Family” for relatives and the theme from “Friends” for your friends. Likewise, do the same for the text tones for your various contacts as well. 

The hope is that if you get in the habit of receiving visual and audible cues, you would have trained yourself to be in business mode vs personal mode before you begin texting. 

WHEN NOT TO TEXT

My iPhone has a “do not disturb” function that automatically activates every night at bedtime and deactivates in the morning. During those hours I receive no calls, texts or notifications with the exception of the contacts I have added to my favorites. In this way, only a select few have access to me at all times. 

A variation of this practice could be applied during office hours so that only a select few can interrupt you during the work day. You would still receive texts from all others but the text tone would be silent. You may still have the urge to check for new texts every so often but it would not be due to a distracting notification. You may want to condition yourself to check for texts at specific points in the day; lunchtime or coffee breaks for example. Admittedly, I know it is a difficult habit for most Americans to adopt. 

I think this is a good practice if you are easily distracted and prone to do the following:

  • Texting while in a business meeting.
  • Texting when interacting with a customer in person.
  • Texting while offering customer service over the phone.
  • Texting during a business meal with clients.
  • Texting when engaged in a conference call.

TEXTING IS GOOD FOR SELLING 

All that being said, for some workers, texting is a key communication tool between them and their clients. Gabe Larsen, VP of Marketing and Sales Development for InsideSales.com is a strong proponent of using texting in B2B sales. In a recent post on LinkedIn, he said this:

I’ve been calling you out for not texting and finally someone listened. Kudos Kyle Willis and Directive for stepping up. Kyle just texted me out of [the] blue and I’m going to listen to his his pitch

– Yes, he texted me cold

– No, I’m not going to sue him

– Yes, it could have turned out bad

– No, I have no clue how he got my number

– Yes, I’m glad he did it

– No, I’ve not looked at my email inbox today

– Yes, I believe he was probably nervous to do it 

EVERYBODY HAS A SMARTPHONE, SO WHY NOT?

I found this encouraging as it puts me in mind of recruiting. If texting can be used successfully for business development, I imagine it would be compelling for recruiting. In a very real way, it only makes sense when you consider data from Pew Research which says 95% of adults own a cell phone and 77% own a smartphone. In the 18-49 age group, 89% own a smartphone. And according to the same research, 1 in 5 adults use a smartphone only and do not have home broadband internet access. About a quarter of US adults say they are “constantly online.”

What is even more encouraging is the penetration of the practice of searching for jobs on mobile phones.  According to recent data from Indeed.com:

“While Millennials may be the most active on mobile — 78% used mobile devices to find jobs as of  2016 — Gen Xers aren’t far behind, with around 73% searching for work on mobile devices. In recent years, Baby Boomers have seen the highest increase in mobile job search among the three generations, with around 57.2% of Boomers active in 2016, up from just 51.2% in 2014.”

BUT, DO JOB SEEKERS APPROVE? SOME DO, SOME DON’T. SOME DON’T CARE

If candidates are searching for jobs on mobile phones and are psychologically tethered to their mobile phones, it is a reasonable assumption that they may wish to connect with potential employers via text as well. An educated guess is at best, still a guess and I wanted some data to validate my suspicions. After some time online, I found some interesting research from Software Advice. They surveyed jobseekers and detail their findings in the blog post – How Do Job Seekers Feel About Recruiting Via Text? [Survey]  and this was a key finding:.

‘According to job seekers, inappropriate texting scenarios with recruiters include texting during non-business hours (14 percent), texts unrelated to job hunting (12 percent) and texting the results of an interview (10 percent).”

By the way, I spoke with Emissary.ai concerning this stat and they corroborated it having seen similar findings with their product.  

In light of these survey findings, I have more best practices to suggest when texting candidates. 

  • Get permission to text someone before engaging them. Not everyone has unlimited data for texting and unless they are notified beforehand, they might regard your outreach as spam. Towards that aim, give them an option to receive text messages when applying online for a job. Moreover, use email and/or phone calls for initial contact and mention that you are available for text follow-up. 
  • Once you have obtained permission from candidates, be sure to limit texts to traditional business hours and those to be restricted to the candidate’s job hunting progress. 
  • I would also stress that information related to interview results should be over the phone and/or in-person and not via text as that is regarded as too impersonal. 

“SPEXT” AND A FEW MORE CONSIDERATIONS

  • Do not send a mass unsolicited text to multiple candidates as it would likely be considered “spext” (spam + text = spext). As I said previously, send texts to those candidates who have opted in to receive your messaging. 
  • When a candidate reaches out to you, respond in a prompt fashion. If you are unable to, make an effort to reply as quickly as possible as a delay might be interpreted as a lack of caring. 
  • Re-read your texts before sending in order to double check for spelling errors, proper grammar and to insure that you are addressing the intended party.
  • Be brief. Text messaging should be for short, informative messages. If you need to go into detail or offer an extensive explanation, pick up the phone instead or meet in person.
  • Make it easy for candidates to unsubscribe from future messages. 

I think texting is an efficient and perfectly acceptable way to engage candidates, once permission is acquired. I also think that texting in general is so widely accepted that it is foolish to not employ it in your recruitment process to one degree or another. Like every other successful enterprise, the advantage of texting candidates will go to the early adopters not afraid to experiment, fail quickly and adapt to what works. On behalf of the HR departments daring to be innovative, please competitors continue what you are doing. We appreciate the advantage. 

“Its All Recruiting with Jim Stroud” Has Returned with Jeff Amster #podcast

My show – “Its All Recruiting” has been on hiatus for some time but, has now returned due. In this episode, I had a great chat with my special guest – Jeff Amster, Founder of Firstscreen.  Time flew by as we discussed several things; among them:

  • Are AI robots going to take over my recruiting job?
  • Challenges with video hiring solutions (creepy / introducing bias)?
  • Challenges with technical coding solutions for technical roles
  • Current industry headaches in the top of talent pipeline?
  • Résumé review headaches
  • Time wasted on initial phone interview screens
  • Lack of time to identify larger & more diverse candidate pools
  • Candidate engagement issues

ABOUT MY GUEST

Jeff AmsterWith over 18 years of experience in recruiting for product, program and technical teams, Jeff Amster understood first-hand that resume reviews and initial phone screens had become an extreme pain point for talent acquisition professionals, hiring managers and candidates, and it was time for the industry to take part in re-imagining the recruiting model to alleviate collective frustration. Earlier this year, Jeff unveiled his next-generation, artificial intelligence powered HR platform helping to revolutionize organization talent acquisition recruiting processes by empowering candidates to self-serve their initial phone screen interviews while surfacing True Talent candidates. He plans to usher in a new age of talent matching with the commitment to leading edge AI technologies coupled with extremely user-friendly experiences.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

Firstscreen is an AI automated phone interview platform empowering your recruiters to reclaim their day by enabling candidates to self-serve phone screens with digital recruiters. The platform is intended to be the first stage in helping organizations speed up the hiring process while giving candidates an easy, natural and engaging evaluation experience. At the same time, it serves to enable recruiting professionals to reclaim wasted time and re-dedicate it to increasing organization diversity, building stronger hiring manager and True Talent candidate relationships and completing new strategic analysis on their talent pipelines.

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SPECIAL NOTE: Be sure to read my bio on the landing page where you download this whitepaper. The last paragraph may be of interest to some recruiters out there. *wink-wink*

Webinar: Retention is the New Recruiting

Hiretual Webinar Series is back due to popular demand! At a time of historically low unemployment levels, the only thing harder than recruiting new talent is keeping the workforce you have. In this webinar, Jim Stroud discusses the labor market and how some companies are holding on to their most valuable resource. Get to know how talent retention is key to continuous success.

Retention is the New Recruiting
Tuesday, July 30th
10-11 AM PDT
Click here to sign up for this free webinar!

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Sign up for this free webinar - Retention is the new recruiting

Podcast: Innovative Recruiting Strategies

A low employment rate is great for the USA economy but, extremely challenging for companies on the hunt for talent.  When talent is scarce, companies have to be creative when finding qualified, interested and available candidates. In episode 2 of the “World of Work” series, three case studies of companies who successfully experimented with their recruiting strategies are explored. It is sponsored by ClickIQ, the award winning, automated job advertising platform. Sources cited in this podcast can be found here.